HARLEM, NY–It’s hard enough being a high school basketball player in New York City, but imagine trying to craft your own image with the last name “Telfair.”
Sebastian Telfair was a high school phenom, drafted straight to the NBA from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, going 13th overall in the 2004 draft to the Portland Trailblazers.
But there’s another Telfair who is working his way through Lincoln now: Ethan, Sebastian’s younger brother.
The 5-10 point guard from the Class of 2013 was part of a Railsplitters team that went 19-9 in 2011-12, before losing in the playoffs to rival Boys & Girls.
“It was a rollercoaster season,” said Telfair. “We played good some games, we played bad some games. I’m grateful we had a good team, even though we came up short.”
Telfair averaged 7.5 points and 4.2 assists per game this season, but it seems less identify him as Ethan Telfair, and more often as “Sebastian’s little brother,” something that he is trying to change.
He is a crafty guard who can distribute the basketball and is a solid ballhandler.
“I’m kind of used to [being compared to Sebastian] now, but everyone knows we have two different games,” said the young point guard. “He’s a scoring point guard and my game is to pass and get my team into the game.”
“Certain things I do, they don’t look as good because of Sebastian, but if people look at me, they’ll see I’m a special talent.”
But Telfair has had to overcome obstacles off the court, as well.
Last May, Telfair was arrested in Coney Island, NY after allegedly having three loaded guns on him and trying to bribe a police officer to release him, police sources said at the time.
Due to lack of sufficient evidence, the gun charges were later dropped.
“I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and a basketball court happened to be the wrong place,” he says.
Because of the incident, Telfair has had to work to show college coaches that his focus remains on the court.
“I want coaches to look at me as a high school student-athlete and as a special basketball player,” Telfair explains. “I don’t want them to look at me as anything bad or anything negative.”
For support, he many times turns to his brother, who has overcome legal issues in the past and had dealt with his fair share of media criticism.
“We talk every day, every hour if he’s not busy. He’ll call me or text me to see how my day is going,” Telfair says, recounting conversations with his older brother. “He tells me to stay focused, stay humble, and stay hungry. Be in the gym and keep working hard and it will come to me.”
Telfair says he is drawing interest from schools including St. Peter’s, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and, recently, Hofstra.
Check out some highlights of Telfair’s season at Lincoln right here.